Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Manipulated gatekeeper: how viruses find their way into the cell nucleus

03.10.2011
Adenoviruses cause respiratory diseases and are more dangerous for humans than previously assumed. They manipulate gatekeeper molecules and infiltrate the cell nucleus with the aid of the host cell. A team of researchers headed by cell biologists and virologists from the University of Zurich have succeeded in demonstrating this mechanism in detail for the first time.

They have been around since the dawn of time and are a model of evolutionary success: viruses. Viruses are extremely adaptable but they have a problem: They cannot reproduce, so they smuggle their genes into suitable host cells. In the case of some viruses, the viral DNA has to enter the cell nucleus to reproduce. This has been known for almost 50 years. We know, for instance, that the adenovirus disassembles its protein shell in the first step. Just how the DNA is exposed and infiltrates the host cell, however, remained unclear despite decades of research.

A research group headed by Urs Greber, a cell biologist at the University of Zurich, has now managed to clear up these points. As the scientists recently revealed in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, viruses use the cell’s own mechanisms. The adenovirus latches onto a gatekeeper molecule, which sits on the nuclear pore complex in the nucleus envelope and controls the passage in and out of the nucleus. Another protein in the nuclear pore complex binds and activates a motor protein from the kinesin family, which regulates the transport of substances near the nucleus.

Virus DNA uncoated with aid of host cell
«The motor protein is in an active condition, can bind to micro-tubules and migrate along them,» says Professor Greber, explaining his team’s observations. And the docked virus uses precisely this situation for its purposes. The virus binds to the kinesin and uses the energy of the motor to disrupt its own shell, which exposes the virus DNA and prepares it for transport into the nucleus. The action of the activated motor has another effect, too: The nuclear pore ruptures and becomes markedly bigger, which enables the viral DNA to enter the cell nucleus more easily. Surprisingly, the cell repairs the defective nuclear pore so that the virus breach in the nucleus does not leave any visible damage in its wake. The viral DNA is smuggled into the nucleus practically without trace, where it can reproduce easily.

The researchers used adenoviruses for their study. Adenoviruses cause, among other things, respiratory or epidemic ocular disease. Until recently, they were thought to be relatively harmless for healthy humans. However, the results of another research group recently demonstrated that a new kind of adenovirus triggered a dreaded zoonotic disease, meaning it was transmitted from an animal to humans before spreading from one person to another.

Literature:
Sten Strunze, Martin F. Engelke, I-Hsuan Wang, Daniel Puntener, Karin Boucke, Sibylle Schleich, Michael Way, Philipp Schoenenberger, Christoph J. Burckhardt and Urs F. Greber: Kinesin-1-Mediated Capsid Disassembly and Disruption of the Nuclear Pore Complex Promote Virus Infection, in: Cell Host & Microbe 10, 15. September 2011, DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2011.08.010
Contacts:
Prof. Urs Greber
Institute of Molecular Biology
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 635 48 41
E-mail: urs.greber@imls.uzh.ch
Beat Müller
Media Relations
University of Zurich
Phone: +41 44 634 44 32
E-mail: beat.mueller@kommunikation.uzh.ch

Nathalie Huber | idw
Further information:
http://www.uzh.ch/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New technology offers fast peptide synthesis
28.02.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht Biofuel produced by microalgae
28.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>